Thinking about Gerunds

Sitting on the swing, and swinging, with Peggy
half asleep and full of bliss
and thinking about something I may have never
thought about before —except maybe in English class
back in the distant days of schooling.

In a daydreaming state, defying description,
except for some beautiful words:
words with lovely meanings of warmth and comfort
and a glorious state of well-being.

Getting to an upright position, from such a lap of luxury,
after napping on a swing on the last day of Summer
is a fete of accomplishment in itself!
limbs sleeping and creaking
glad to be alive!

©Sometimes, 2016

(Here’s a Wikipedia post that is a must for people who like Gerunds and the like.)

childhood memories of war

Perhaps the most vivid memories of nursery tales were not of bunnies or bantering fairies…but of War and its aftermath.     We here in the United States did not suffer the horrors that children in other countries did, the bombings and air raids and worse.   But such accounts were very much vicariously present.    And directly following the Hot War followed the Cold War, with its insidious psychological terror.

I was eleven when World War II ended in 1945.    What I write here are my impressions as a child.

Here in the Cleveland, Ohio area we had three major daily newspapers in Cleveland,
in the 1940s-1950s.    Subtlety was not a virtue to our dueling newspapers, bent on gathering new and worse  predictions and statistics to entertain and scare the heck out of the readership.     Everyone read the papers…there was no television in the vast majority  of our homes, and except for newsreel productions in the movie theaters,  the newspapers were the major source for information about the “doomsday bullseye” which so impressed us as kids!   We lay on the floor with the front page of the paper spread out before us,   especially the issues with the giant bulleye dominating the front page…we traced the maps and figured out the implications for us personally…we lived  roughly 30 miles from the epicenter, which was presumeably down-town Cleveland.      In those days the  Cleveland area was a major producer of steel and—I was very proud to say—the twelfth largest city in the United States.

…tales of missile silos that later became parks
where ducks paddled in glistening ponds
surrounded by Lilies and Begonias
casting their colors in pinwheel flashes

This  was all a  grim and grotesque point of pride for me (for many of us kids) in the knowledge of having—within our own perimeter—huge metal monsters capable of unspeakable destruction.   This perverse, but prevailing situation had the effect of providing bragging points in discussing the relative extent of our living areas from the Bullseye Center at the heart of the city.   The really spooky thing is that my peers and I understood (mostly) the implications.  We discussed it in school, and excitedly and conspiratorially mapped our own possible destruction and theoretical  survival rather matter-of-factly, if not with particular sophistication.

The encouraging news—such as it was— lay in the conjecture that relative safety
existed outside of a radius of thirty miles… outside of the “immediate blast” area.
After that was a series of concentric rings, inside of which various stages of non-annihilation “might” exist.   This included various degrees of exposure to radiation,
and theoretical projected life-expectancy.

But comfort came in the form of experts’ advice on preparing our underground shelters and keeping them stocked with water and food… supplies sufficient for about two years.    Then came the horror of realization of implications that under the category of “supplies” would have to come stores of ammunition to arm the guns that would be necessary to guard our family stores  against neighbors and friends—and planning for continued survival AFTER the theoretical “all-clear” sirens sounded and we could come out of our shelters and return to — What?

Even us children understood that if the GOOD news was that survival from an atomic blast would (or might) be possible—this was also the BAD news.





HYSTERICAL BLAST Re-blogged from Jnana’s Red Barn

very moving…one can feel the storm as it approaches. thank you!🙂

Jnana's Red Barn

In a single afternoon, everything changes
and it’s apparent
summer won’t be returning.

How appropriate, when the anniversary
of unspeakable catastrophe
comes a day after swimming in Maine ocean.

Great wind brings clouds and chill
and mottled sullen clouds.
Knocks trees over, rattles the house,
litters highways,
severs power to the traffic lights in Epping.

Everyone cowers
in crimped motion.
All the branches
and wires crashing down.

Comes from nowhere
comes from somewhere
not quite here.

To continue, click here.
Copyright 2015
Poem originally appeared in Hot Metal Press

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My Favorite Novels

The Name of the Rose, Humberto Eco.    (I love this book, have read it at least three times, its about a monastery library in the 12th Century.)

Snow Treasure, Marie McSwigan (All-time favorite.   My third grade Christmas present.  About some Norwegian kids and German soldiers.)

The Last Juror, Robert Grisham  (I like Grisham, this is my favorite novel of his.)

Wake of the Red Witch, Robert Rourk (My late husband’s favorite, he read it I don’t know how many times…I read it once, and it is the kind of novel that I didn’t want to end.)

Bad Spell in Yurt, C. Dale Brittain (series)   (I love her fantasy tales, I’ve read the series except for the last couple.)

The Queen’s Fool, Phillipa Gregory   (I enjoy this because although its fiction about Henry the VIII and his carryings-on, there is enough historical fact to justify reading romance fiction so avidly🙂

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy  (I love this book, intriguing and romantic.)

The Sahir, Paulo Coelho  (Coehlo…anything he writes is wonderful.)

Mistress  of the Morning Star, Elizabeth Lane  (The plot is the very first account of the Aztec empire, Hernan Cortes, and his lady La Malinche.   This is fiction…but it is also my top influence for choosing Latin American Studies as my field.  I tried to use it for a reference once, but that was not well-received by my mentor🙂

Fahrenheit 911, Ray Bradbury    (All the things I like: firemen, the future, books, crooked governments, and Science Fiction at its best.)

The First Eagle, Tony Hillerman (I have all of Hillerman’s books, and I want to read them again.   I like Navajos, indigenous people in general, Arizona, the Desert, and cops.)

She Who Remembers, Linda Lay Shuler.  (Historical romance again…about native society and a female head-of-state…and Kokopelli! )

These titles are all novels that I have read at least once, have some kind of personal attachment, and plan to read again.

mundane memories, my personal day of horror September 11, 2001

Great events of all magnitude—those days that remain in our memories as vignettes of personal recollection—return almost as re-runs of popular experience. Everyone has his or her own version of what happened to them, or relative to them on that day…some, actually “most,” I should say, are pretty mundane. Perhaps the vivid memories of irrelevant, impersonal  details of a monumentous happening, is what keeps us sane when the world around us is in turmoil.

Here’s what my day—September 11, 2001—was like.

At a few minutes before 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time, I pulled into the parking lot of the bank. The car radio was tuned to NPR (National Public Radio) as usual, and there and there had just moments before been a news flash, cutting into the programming, announcing that “an airplane” had flown into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. Details were sketchy.

The first person I encountered was a U.S. Postal Worker, a mailman, who had parked his little vehicle next to mine. I said “did you hear about the 757 jetliner hitting the trade center tower in New York?” He replied that he had not had the radio on since he had begun his route.

“No,” he said… “but it could not have been a 757…maybe a 737.” I often wonder if, when he realized that I was right, he remembers saying that.

My next stop on my day’s itinerary was Target. The check-out clerk had not heard the news about the incident in New York…nor had any of the customers standing in line. There was some discussion about the crash being an accident; the plane in question having been a small commuter jet aircraft; and general disbelief that such a thing could happen in the United States!

During the day the radio continued to report the progress of the unfolding drama in New York, and when I got back home the television news was all over the story…and that Boeing 757 crashed into that building over and over and over again as they re-ran the film footage. Then the second plane hit the other tower, with black smoke billowing into the skies.

My granddaughter was coming back to Cleveland after a stay in California. Flying on the red-eye from Los Angeles, the flight was on time and nearing Cleveland. Her mother, and uncle, were waiting at the airport, approaching the security check-in place, where they were stopped by security guards. They were told they could not go beyond the security point. (At that time visitors or meet-and-greeters were normally permitted to progress to the loading gates to meet arriving passengers.)

My son, who is dark complected and has a beard, was getting more attention from the security people than usual, questioning him about where he was going and who he was. He and his sister were told to wait where they were, which they did. The security guards seemed agitated, and there was more hustle and bustle around the area than was normal at that time in 2001.

Soon, passengers came hurrying down the passage and toward the baggage claim area, and a brief wait, my granddaughter appeared walking down from the arrival gates. The airport staff directed her and the others to leave the area, and on to where her luggage was sitting off to one side…the attendant told them to hurry, that the airport was closing…to get the baggage and…get out! (She didn’t say why, probably not sure of the reasons herself.)

A call from my son in Minnesota, asking if she got in all right, was the first actual knowledge they got about what was happening in New York.

By this time (shortly after 9:00 a.m.) all of the airports in the United States had been put on alert and were closing down completely to any air traffic except flights that were imminently landing at various airports. All flights were diverted to Canada. Apparently, our girl got in on the last flight into Cleveland.

Later that day my ex-husband, the father of those I mentioned here, was taken to the hospital (in Michigan, I think) and was in critical condition. He understood what was happening on the television, but he was in very grave condition…and sometime after midnight on the next day, September 12, he died.
During the night, after the infamous 9-11 day, I remember getting up out of bed more than once to turn on the television to determine if I had dreamed the whole thing…but every time I tuned in the channel that plane was crashing into that tower. No dream…a nightmare, but not personal. This event has affected everyone in the world and created many personal memories.

How terrible must be the actual memories of those first responders, and people who were rescued before the destruction was complete…and relatives and friends of those who were killed during the tragedy.

So which are YOUR Top Ten Fiction Novels?

Please take out pencil and a piece of paper.      Number from one to 10.   (It doesn’t matter what kind of paper, and the numbers should be 1-10 in a vertical column.)     You are to list (not necessarily in order) YOUR  top ten Greatest Fiction Books Ever Written.      You have 30 minutes to complete the list.

Wow!      Moments ago I read a page on selling books on eBay.    I actually do sell books on eBay, but mostly on other venues, mainly Amazon.     The list, which the author of the article noted was A list, not intended to be THE LIST of the all-time great books.

Here is the eBay writer’s list:

Top 10 Books of All Time Photo from the eBay page.  I am duly impressed!

I believe I have now on my shelves ALL of the ten works on the list.     I would like to say that I have read and studied every single one of these books…but since I am a very truthful person, I can’t make that claim.

I did read part of  Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which I enjoyed.    The other classics are so much discussed and made into movies, and snippets (or pages) have appeared in various sources, that they are impressed upon my mind having read the novels  per se or not.

OK, in my defense, English and American Literature HAVE been included in my curriculum,  but during my college career the only course I remember that specifically dealt with “classic great modern literature” was a University of Akron  graduate seminar on Latin American Fiction.    That course, I recall, came as I was overwhelmed (pretty much) with heavy-duty studying and reading…so much so that I was   reading non-fiction textbooks on the History of all sorts of times and places—and did not have time for the luxury of reading my favorite “lawyer-books” and Sci-Fi, and light bedtime reading…I would fall asleep with a huge textbook, not a little paperback.     Reading those Latin American novels (Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Garcia Lorca,)…was almost like cheating on the curriculum…a real treat.

Another seminar at Cleveland State dealt with Karl Marx and his assorted works.  Now this may sound stupid, but I was a tad shy at the time with my Essential Karl Marx paperback and reams of print-outs from reference books.   I mention that because one of the eBay writer’s TOP TEN GREAT BOOKS is the classic Vladimir Nabovosky book Lolita.    Well!  at the time I was in college ten-twenty years ago I would have kept THAT book in my book bag.      I have the book now for sale (I think.)   No, I haven’t been so inclined to read it.

While on that general subject, it always amuses me to recall that when I was a girl THE banned book (really…banned!) was Forever Amber,   by Kathleen Winsor.    Well, let me tell you…that book was not very interesting to me when I tried to read it years and years ago…and I never did find the titillating parts that I thought were hiding within the book.     Recently, like last year, I finally found out that the book was banned for political reasons…not for…well, you know…sexy stuff. 😉

So…good luck with those lists!

Caves of Memories

Back in my Cave…cave…cave…cave…
Safe and sound and daring to breathe..
Here the sounds reverberate from walls,
deep inside the endless complex of caverns….
meandering through tunnels  far from reality.

Here is where My Life lives, a collection of times,
past loves, beautiful memories, painful losses.
All of the things I have learned…and forgotten…
the songs of my life, the cast of characters once known—
both real and imagined.

Strains of music, whispers of love…tender and urgent,
snippets of verse penned in neat finished hand,
ragged untidy stacks of paper—or still in thought forms
of reason and nonsense, within the echoing silence
in the mine of the untapped Memory Lode.


Echo of Chardonnay WORDLE Special Edition “SOUND”

Sound Wordle

Sounds remain in memory banks to fill a silent void.
As the blind hear what they cannot see,
the Deafened have memories of sounds
in silence echo sonorous nocturnal interludes…
a rustle of taffeta nearby…
the gurgle of the newly uncorked vessel,
with its cheery “pop!” of releasing Chardonnay.

Somewhere a whistle escapes a kettle’s steam
with a strident “woosh!” a steam engine slows.
The crackle of a welcoming  fire,  a heat current conveys
with soft vibrations, the percussive beat of distant drums;
the buzz of a harmless insect seeking aimlessly,
bare tree branches scratching at a window pane…
a thready sigh escapes a whisper of Death.



A Word to the Wise


Why Blog?

All it takes to write in a Blog
Is a Writer who is a Blogger
and a Reader who reads Blogs.

If someone is reading that Blog
–even if the blog is about nothing–
then all the components are there:
the Blogger blogs,
and the Reader reads.

And IF he is reading,
and she is blogging,
then there is a connection…
a piece of her mind
–for good or for bad–
is read and ingested
and taken to heart.

So what if the Post is about Nothing?

If its being read… someone is interested,
this is obvious right from the start.
The Key to blogging may be
not so much clever phrases
or figures of speech
as simply a communication.

So, if a blog is about Something
then it can’t be about Nothing.

What does that all mean?

If one is blogging…
well, they are blogging.

and if Reading?

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Who do I write for?— or is it…For Whom do I write?


No…wait…don’t go!  Although I write because I need to write, and this is what I DO…

…I take photos and put them on the blog, hoping that other bloggers who follow me (or even random droppers-in,)  will see my Cats, or Roses, or Assorted Weeds among Mediocre Flowers.     And I love it when you comment.

I know you people!      Just as much as if we were all sitting around in my back yard drinking mint julips (does anyone really?)    If everyone showed up to my picnic, that follows my blog, some would have to stand out in the road.  But my point is that I would know many of you as well as I know my oldest friends…by name.  I know what country you live in, and where you grew up, your political leanings, what you eat for breakfast, and what you look like.

On a one to one (without the crowd) I could start a conversation with any of you.  “How’s your daughter?”    “Is it still Winter over there where you live?”    “How did the trip to Wherever go?”

When you are walking up the driveway I could say to the others: “Oh, good!  Here comes Anne.”      “This guy with the cool cap has to be E…”    “Hey!  I see you made it from Scotland…how is the weather over there?”      “Ah!  Here comes the girl with the pet camel…”

Every day there are some newcomers—I love that!   Some “Follow” and stick around, some don’t.    Some have been around for three years, some just an hour ago.

Thanks guys and gals!   Love ya all!

Thus are the joys of blogging.





Taco Trucks…what a great idea!

The idea of “Taco Trucks on every corner” is not a bad idea.     Food trucks, in general, are popular in areas such as college campuses, factories, various community events.  At the University of Akron, when I was there ten years ago, there was a guy with his food truck selling Gyros.   For anyone who has been asleep for years, Gyros are yummy sandwich sort of “wrap” things, special meat, sautéed onions and peppers, maybe some tomatoes, and delicious cucumber/sour cream sauce.   ooooh, I’m hungry now.   The Gyro truck was located in a more strategic location than the school food court/cafeteria/snack bar…and always had a booming business of hungry students and professors.   The price was affordable. the food fresh and good tasting.

SO, when I first heard it, I was favorably impressed with the prospect of this “Taco Truck” business  in spite of it being  a denigrating nickname intended as an insult to Hillary Clinton’s campaign—presumeably a warning by a Donald Trump Surrogate apparently opining that Tacos were somehow gauche, and trucks selling Tacos was somehow a bad thing that Mrs. Clinton would force upon us when she becomes POTUS.

Aside from the obvious…having good food readily available at a reasonable price…there is an even better advantage—  Tacos are inherently NUTRITIOUS food!

As one of my professors pointed out once in a class about indigenous health habits, the the general diet has always included basic substinence items of Corn, Beans, Rice, and   vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce or other greens, onions, some peppers, and meat—what could be more nutrious than that?   Besides, serving is easy…just fill up a Taco shell (corn,) or wrap up the good stuff in a soft flour tortilla.   OK technically that’s a Burrito…but specific terminology is optional at a Taco Truck.

The government could even subsidize Taco Trucks–and do a double purpose of encouraging good nutrition for the masses in the bargain.    Could be a boon to vegetable farmers, too.

WHO doesn’t like Tacos?


Are critics just mean?

Is it necessary, when a skinny but gorgeous fashion model is sauntering down the runway in her painful stillettos, for a critic to find something negative to say?    The girl’s hair is perfect to the last tousled curl, her figure exquisite in its proportions and invisible twekes of past imperfection.     Her patent leather bag may be a tad too plain for the somewhat “frilly” ruffles at the neckline…which. by the way, could be slightly higher so as to allude to more fullness in the bodice area?     Her make-up could not be more appropriate to enhance her naturally somewhat sallow complexion…do you think a touch toward-primrose blush?   Those earrings are beautiful!…could be slightly less elongated…her ears seem large for her face, don’t you think?    What a pity that now she is pregnant— why in the world would she want a child now at the peak of her career?

Do We Even Want to be Entertained? ReBlogged, Legends of Windemere

Excellent article on what we expect from entertainment. This is my first visit to Charles Yallowitz’s blog LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE, and like it a lot. I agree that when I like a film or book…I LIKE it…and I don’t care what the critics say. Some of my favorites are works that others say are terrible. Thanks for enabling the RE=BLOG button!🙂

Legends of Windemere

So, I’ve been wondering this for a while now.  I wasn’t sure how to write this up either and have gone through it in my head many times.  Then I stumbled onto this part from a Suicide Squad review:

“In my sensible critical opinion, Suicide Squad wasn’t a complete disaster, but inexcusably mediocre. To be fair, the audience I saw the film with appeared to love every frame: big laughter, cheers for the action and clapping as the credits rolled. Is there a disconnect between critics and audiences?”

Now, I’m not going to touch on the question because I have another one.  Are people disconnecting themselves from movies, shows, and books before they even start?  I’ve seen so many people swear that something will be bad for months and then they begrudgingly indulge.  SURPRISE!  They didn’t like it for exactly the reasons either they said or the critics declared.  Sometimes word for…

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